Dealing with visitors from home

(25 Posts)
ThunderboltandLightening Fri 06-Feb-15 06:10:24

My first every Mumsnet post!

I'm currently living overseas. My best friend visited over Christmas for 2 weeks and my mum is with us now for nearly a month.

I was looking forward to seeing them both but both visits have turned sour on my part. Both visitors have completely given up responsibility for themselves. Anyone else have experience of this?

They haven't gone anywhere unless I go with them. I work from home, so this has meant someone sitting there looking bored while they 'wait' for me to finish work so I can take them somewhere.

They haven't really helped out with house or kids very much. Very frustrating to be busy and have someone just sat there watching you offering no help. I appreciate they are on holiday, but still.

My mum was helpful the first week she got here now the novelty has worn off. The kids are ignoring her as she isn't really playing/connecting with them and it's starting to feel awkward.

She also moans about the heat constantly. If you don't like heat why did you come to a tropical country??? She is very repetitive in general and says the same things over and over.

My friend seemed quite put out that we didn't go for a piss up. She is a big drinker with no children. I am not a big drinker and have work to do and 2 kids to look after. Why should I go out on the lash and make myself feel like crap for 3 days just because she's invited herself to my house?! I am not on holiday with nothing to do the next day.

My husband is livid with having to endure 2 sets of guests, both of which have made him feel uncomfortable in his own home. He is furious that people can just turn up and show no gumption to do anything at all.

Sorry for the rant! Has anyone else had this or do you enjoy having visitors? I thought I would but it seems like a week should be the limit to have house guests. After that it just gets too much!

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Rosa Fri 06-Feb-15 06:22:34

Friends get told before they arrive about my life .... It is made clear that I work and kids have after school activities and they have to make their own entertainment. Yes i make the effort but often give them a map and a key for if I am out!
My mum fits in no problem , at the start i would make her go to the local shop with a short list, made a point of showing her where everything was and then stated 'grandma is making dinner tonight'. She collected the dd's from school and often treated them to an ice cream on the way home etc. Kids need to include your mum and your mum needs to make an effort!!!!

Nolim Fri 06-Feb-15 06:30:57

Your home is not a hotel and you are not a tour guide. Your guests are extremely unreasonable.

ThunderboltandLightening Fri 06-Feb-15 07:01:25

Rosa, I thought my mum would fit in. She's really helpful back in the UK as she lives close by so I'm not sure what's happened! I do genuinely thinks she is struggling in the heat (she is also very overweight) and it's zapping her energy. But it's like she has given into it now and just waiting to be waited on!

Nolim, my DH's very words this morning, "I'm not Thomas Cook. Where does everyone get off treating my house like a hotel." He stopped speaking to both guests and they know he was/is annoyed with them, but they couldn't seem to care less.

I just don't get it. I would never do that to someone. I have stayed at other people's houses before and got out of their hair daily or just used their house as a base and gone off to stay other places for a few days then come back. Made me see people in a very different light....

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Bowlersarm Fri 06-Feb-15 07:02:47

I have no experience but my neighbours family live overseas and after a few strained visits with people staying they stopped putting them up and booked them into local hotel. That was much easier for them, they stopped being resenting them visiting!

Maybe you could lay down the law before people come over so they know what you are and arent offering whilst they are visiting?

ThunderboltandLightening Fri 06-Feb-15 07:34:19

Bowlersarm, sounds like a good plan. We have now agreed that we won't allow any house guests. Or if we do, it will be a 5 day max stay.

People will have to stay at a resort and plan their own holiday and we will just make time to visit / outings with them. And of course, they can visit us at home but just not sleep here angry

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Kewrious Fri 06-Feb-15 07:41:11

I have guests all the time (live in the UK but family lives elsewhere). Before arrival, especially after DS was born three years ago, I always sent out a friendly email with advice on clothes to bring etc for the weather that had a paragraph on our 'routine'. I would say that I am out at work from 9-4 so lunch is your responsibility and that DS is in bed by 7 and we want to keep his routine undisturbed. With my parents I would just give them specific tasks (they too find the cold here difficult, as we are from a tropical country). So my Dad was given the tasks of washing up and chopping vegetables when I was at work. And he would do both immaculately! And my mum insisted on doing all the cooking. In turn I never expected them to do any childcare- I did all the work for DS by myself. But it did take a few visits to establish this rhythm. We have had guests who have taken the complete piss. Expected to be waited on hand and foot. I would provide meals and leave a London A-Z out very pointedly.


mousmous Fri 06-Feb-15 07:48:06

I think the visits are too long. 5 days max sounds ok, if still a bit long. you know what thy say about visitors and fish...

had 5 family members visiting for a week and it was hell hard work. apart from the day where I baked with the dc after turfing all the adults out to go shopping

Nolim Fri 06-Feb-15 07:53:03

Agree with kew that sending a heads up email is a great idea. Including schedules, expectations and "travelers guide"

ThunderboltandLightening Fri 06-Feb-15 07:53:45

mousmous, no I have no idea what they say about fish and guests.

But just googled it and I must say, the quote just about sums it up!

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tomandizzymum Fri 06-Feb-15 08:05:33

I'm not Thomas Cook
I said exactly the same thing to my husband. People tell me when they're coming, they don't ask. They think you're on holiday!!!

outtolunchagain Fri 06-Feb-15 08:43:05

I grew up living abroad and now have a sibling who lives overseas and two SIL who live here but are overseas from home IYSWIM?

The thing is you have answered your own question, your mother did not choose to visit a tropical country , she choose to visit you .The fact that you live in a tropical country is not an advantage from her point of view .With your friend I think you probably needed to push her into doing things on her own , did she invite herself or did you invite her?but you do need to invest a bit of time if you have guests .

With your mother I think she needs a bit more looking after , she is probably disorientated , she didn't come to see the country or the sights etc she came to see her family and I am afraid you need to factor that in .

We stayed for 4 weeks with my sibling last year , admittedly it was over xmas and we both have children , mine were older than his so enjoyed being with the older cousins etc. and they helped with looking after the younger ones a lot.We all mucked in as much as possible, we took ourselves off for a week on our own and we all went on holiday together for another week .But they were fabulous hosts as well , we will remember it forever , I know my brother made huge efforts for us and I will never forget that and it has left us with wonderful memories .

When my parents go out he has every last detail thought out , every day is planned even if it's just a stay at home day .It is an effort for them but they appreciate that it's an effort for people to fly 16 hours to see them as well.

If you don't want visitors then say no but don't complain then that no one comes to see you .

Vagndidit Fri 06-Feb-15 08:49:45

Just tell 'em "No thanks!" next time someone offers to visit.

I always thought it was a myth that people who live abroad are inundated with guests, but that hadn't been the case with us. We've been abroad in the UK for almost 5 years and my parents have come for a grand total of 2 weeks.

Perhaps if we moved somewhere more exotic than Norfolk.wink

ThunderboltandLightening Fri 06-Feb-15 08:59:18

outtolunchagain - both my mother and my friend invited themselves. I agreed to my mum coming for 2 weeks, but she booked for 3.5 before checking if that was OK.

I have been investing time. I've done my best to make people comfy, show them around etc (not to mention the expense of picking them up from airport, going out for meals etc). I have been very accommodating but am not experiencing that experience of 'mucking in' that you mention.

I have been looking after my mother and making sure she's OK. I really have. But it is still very annoying that she is making no effort with anything!

Believe me after the last 2 visits, I would NEVER complain about people not wanting to visit me. In fact, if I was bothered about seeing people I'd still be in London grin And I will be saying NO next time someone invites themselves over...

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Overhereinthecorner Sun 08-Feb-15 02:37:52

Thunderbolt, I could have written your post myself. We have relatives with us for a long stay at the moment and are feeling as if our lives are on hold. I was really surprised when people came to stay and hadn't done any basic research on the area, had no idea how they would like to spend their time and seemed to expect us to sort everything out. But I'm sure we will miss them when they've gone wink

Laptopwieldingharpy Sun 08-Feb-15 03:08:54

We have different school holiday and my absolute nightmare is when our family decide without fail to come visit literally on the eve of day school resumes in August/january.

They also have very mediterannean ways ( late lunch/dinner etc...) and are totally jetlagged. They completely throw the kids routine haywire and i by the time they leave we hate them.
We drew the line last summer.

gingerfluffball Sun 08-Feb-15 03:29:15

You totally have my sympathy! We have a time limit on people staying and suggest the (very reasonably priced) hotel close by if they like their own space. It used to drive me mad when guests would say 'but we just came to see you' without even looking up things they might like to do in the city or planning their days!

JellyTipisthebest Sun 08-Feb-15 07:22:26

I have only have 2 set of visitors so far, one was a you person, I knew his parents he came looking for work we took him on family outing kind of treated like a big brother to our kids. He was great. He pleased himself a lot found his own way around.

My dad then came stayed with us a few days then went off to see the country then came back. It would of been nice if he had stayed longer, not really sure why he didn't as he is retired. The way he visited worked well.

littlemonkeyface Sun 08-Feb-15 17:31:22

The main problem I have experienced is that the dynamics often change when you move abroad. You stop seeing each other on a regular basis and therefore have less shared experiences.

Had a lovely friend visit me some time ago and the first couple of days were great to catch up on things. Thereafter I could not wait for her to leave as I found her constant talk about home town / mutual friends boring.

Think it's a bit like when you visit work after having had a baby. The first few visits to introduce baby and catch up on things are great and then things seem to drift apart (unless you return to work of course).

shushpenfold Sun 08-Feb-15 17:37:34

OP, I know that both may have invited themselves, but you need to be honest next time, most especially with friends....have a max night stay and if they have booked themselves flights for longer, say 'oh, you're visiting elsewhere then I take it - you know that we have a 5 night (3 would be the max for me!) maximum stay?' If they ask why or have an issue with it you need to very flatly say, I'm sorry but we don't have people to stay for longer as it has caused problems in the past. You need to be assertive OP and you can be assertive with your mum sounds like you need to clear the air.

fizzycolagurlie Mon 09-Feb-15 03:59:14

What they say about guests and fish (German expression) is this

"Guests are like fish, after three days, they stink"

Its true, sadly.

At least you can get all your visitors out of the way now and you won't feel obligated to invite them back for ages. Be warned though, they are FAR worse when you visit them. There was a thread on here somewhere about it, hilarious but awful and very true

SteveBrucesNose Mon 09-Feb-15 04:56:12

Unfortunately no matter who people are, they still have the ability to shock you with how they behave when they visit. First visits from anyone are difficult, as you don't know what they'll wxpect even if you know them inside out.

For new visitors, I now have a plan of attack. It's simple - whoever visitor it is (eg if it's his family or my family), that one of us takes a day off to extend the weekend to 3 days. We usually suggest people arrive on the wednesday flight, as that gets them in early evening, then one day to chill out on their own (we live jn a complex on the beach with multiple pools so that's fine). It gives us that evening to say help yourself, there's bread in the bread bin and cheese and butty meat, and breakfast kit in the fridge. There's also 4 restaurants within the complex. We go for a group dog walk around the conplex to show them round.

Then, in the bedside table of the downstairs spare room, we have the tourist guides for local stuff. This includes the free bus service to the mall. The green fees for the two local golf courses (we have ladies aNd men's clubs that people can use), the taxi number.

All I expect in return from visitors is that they at least put their plates in the dishwasher in the day, and make me a brew when I get in from work. I've learnt not to expect anything more - my mum will do some ironing and wash their bedding on the last day of they're on a late flight, but I expect nothing. I learnt that the hard way. I expect to be arranging the meals in an evening, because we know where to go.

During the day, if they choose to do any of the things we've suggested, fair enough. If they don't and then whinge that they were bored, tough shit they ain't coming back.

I've also learnt that whilst you want to keep your routine as much as possible, you do have to concede that it won't be as easy to get to bed on time and that it's knackering. We had my dad visit on his own recently so would entertain himself during the day, but of course this affected bed times and I needed a weekend of doing nothing when he left just to recoup. But it's the only time I'll see my dad for 6 months - I can cope with a week with no sleep to spend time with him

Thankfully though we live only 7-8 hours flight away so a week isn't an issue. I dread to think what it'd be like if we lived further afield and longer trips were necessary to make it work.

ThunderboltandLightening Mon 09-Feb-15 06:18:30

Haven't checked the thread for a few days so thanks all for replies.

This has been a learning curve for sure! It's such a shame as I get on well with my mum normally, but she is still here, still not moving much. My DH is barely talking to her, so whilst she is bugging me he is also annoying me now as I think he is being very childish and rude. But I'm cross at her for inviting herself for so long and not considering how he might feel having his MIL around for so long. Well, she did actually tell me that she didn't care what he thought, which I was bit shock confused at.

monkeyface yes, the dynamics feel so different. My friend made a remark when she was here that 'oh, you haven't said much for last couple of days. We've always talked so much'. Yeah, but I've never had you stalking me for 12 whole days before so not surprising I am running out of things to say [hmmm]

BrucesNose I've reached that point with my mum where I am just accepting that she is doing nothing and trying to get on with it. It is helping me but my DH isn't playing ball. He is raging every day about her lack of action so have now basically told him to just stop talking about it as all it is achieving is upsetting me and causing an atmosphere.

fizz is the thread about visiting them in the UK? Would like to see that. Luckily, I will not need to stay with anyone when we go home. My DB is staying at ours, so we still have a home to go to once back in UK (which we plan to be for about 3 months a year anyway so will see everyone regular-ish).

penfold Trust me, I will be more upfront from now on. I know now, I didn't know when I agreed to the visits. I've learnt the hard way!

overhere hope you get through it - I've just one week to go! I just keep thinking ahead to the feeling of bliss that will sweep over me once I say goodbye....

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ThunderboltandLightening Mon 09-Feb-15 06:23:05

harpy hate is a strong word, but I kinda know what you mean. Horrible to feel that way about people you are actually close to isn't it?

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fizzycolagurlie Mon 09-Feb-15 16:03:47

Thunder - yes, it was a thread about visiting relatives in the UK. It was on here a few months ago. Sorry I can't remember who started it or what it was called. But you're half sorted if you have somewhere to stay.

It was about people expecting you to travel across the country to see them, according to their schedule, about how when you have 3-4 weeks to set up all your social stuff people won't commit unless its about a week beforehand which is fine if you live there but not if you have a short visit only..etc.

It was quite detailed and so true. So true that we won't be doing a UK visit this year if we can avoid it!

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